Monthly Archives: November 2012

Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 16th Installment

46. In December our household shrank to three. But shortly there after our friend Lino Brocka (yes, the movie director) gave us two very small chicks, Chittichitty and Bangbang. They had a box (and a light) in one corner of the kitchen. Chittichitty could fly in and out at will, but Bangbang couldn’t quite make it out. They were the same size when we got them, but Chittichitty grew faster. Several people suggested the former was probably a male and the latter a female. We thought that they would grow out of cuteness and that then we’d give them away. We were sure we could never eat them after we raised them as pets. Then Lino brought us a puppy, or tuta. Peggy had wanted a puppy ever since we arrived in Manila, but I kept insisting that it was better not to get one since we’d just have to leave it and because rabies was a real problem. But when Lino brought the puppy by and we saw that it was clean, we couldn’t turn it down.

Linda, our maid, named the chicks. She didn’t have a name for the puppy, so we called her (the puppy) Tuta for a while. Later Lino named her PETA after the Philippine Education Theater Association, where Lino and I both worked. The puppy was white and grayish-brown in a very irregular pattern. She wasn’t pretty, but she was certainly cute. Biting was her favorite game, but we hoped she’d grow out of it. I was her favorite person.

We really enjoyed watching the chicks change from tiny fuzzy animals into ones who could fly. But then came a very sad day. The puppy killed Chittychitty. (She had always chased the chicks, but we didn’t think she would really hurt them). After this sad event we made big plans to keep Bangbang away from the dog if no one was around. And then what happened? The day after Chittychitty died Bangbang drowned in the toilet. Most Filipino toilets have no seats, leaving just the porcelain and the hole with water. The downstairs bathroom door was always open because that was where the dog was supposed to do her business. Apparently, Bangbang flew up on the bowl rim and fell in.

47. My turning 26 didn’t completely assure that I wouldn’t be drafted, but I was now in a new category (6), which was further down on the list of priorities. Married men 26 or older were not generally drafted, but it depended upon the needs of the local board. We just hoped that there were plenty of men available in Dallas in the 4 or 5 categories that would be called before my category (6).

48. It was the beginning of March, and whether we would extend until the end August or leave the Peace Corps in June was still up in the air. Requests for extension of service had to be in at least three months before the scheduled termination date, which meant we had until March 16 to apply. At that point we were still waiting for a letter (a required letter) from the person who originally requested that I stay longer. We thought if she didn’t care enough to write one letter, there was no point in staying. Peggy would’ve liked to have stayed so that she could’ve had longer to work in the community center, but I really got the urge to travel on.

Our thinking for some time was along the lines of heading next to Borneo, specifically to Sabah, Brunei and parts of Malaysia. But the fact that Malaysia and the Philippines had broken off diplomatic relations made it rather difficult to get there. No planes went from Manila to Borneo, and ships left for Borneo only from the port of Iligan. That would’ve been o.k. had we not be convinced that we could only leave the Philippines from Manila. We could get a boat from Manila to Hong Kong or Singapore, and then get another one for Borneo, but that would eat up a lot of extra money.

I spent considerable time pouring over a travel guide to South and East Asia and a map. I thought we might go to Singapore, then slowly work our way through Indonesia to Australia. (We’d pick up Malaysia and Brunei on a return trip.) A drawback to this plan, we thought, would be that Indonesians did not like Americans (which we found wasn’t true), and travel there was even more difficult than in most of the rest of this part of the world (which was also untrue). So we thought starting there might be really discouraging.

Still another alternative entered the picture. Back in my days at the Dallas Theater Center, I worked with the son of the director of the Korean National Theater. If we went to Korea, I was assured of getting to study and work in this theater. We had planned to make Korea one of the latter stops on our trip, but we began to think that any major trouble in this part of the world (in addition to Vietnam) increased the possibility that we wouldn’t be able to get into Korea. Thus we thought maybe we should go there while we could. A big disadvantage was that Korea had cold winters, and we would need a whole new wardrobe. Besides, going to less developed countries was more exciting to me. .

We also knew that most of traveling in this part of world would be just traveling, since jobs were too scarce to give to outsiders. But jobs were supposed to be plentiful in both New Zealand and Australia, which we thought meant we would be able to work and travel in those countries. Also, I had friends in drama in Christchurch, New Zealand. Finally we also thought Japan would be another place where we could work since there was supposed to be a great demand for English teachers and tutors there.

How long we traveled, we thought, would depend upon how far we could stretch our money and/or the job situation, how involved I became in different theaters, and how much we enjoyed the life of a vagabond. I was thinking in terms of six or eight years, but Peggy tended toward two or three years. She was somewhat apprehensive of just striking out on our own in countries where we knew no one and none of the local languages. But I kept telling her that it would be much like trips around the Philippines, which she enjoyed thoroughly.

Peggy and Randy Ford

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by Ray Lopez

Before buying another car, let Ray Lopez, a former “swift talking, blood-sucking salesperson” and author of INSIDE THE MINDS OF CAR DEALERS give you a look under the hood of dealerships to show you every trick that will be used against you! Learn every single psychological ploy and manipulative scheme typical auto dealers employ to squeeze every last dime out of your pocket … all the while you’re being sold a car you may not even want! Discover in detail the 12 dos and don’ts to car buying from a seasoned insider. This comprehensive, tell-all car buying guide holds nothing back!

ISBN 978-1-58985-156-6
$15.95 Paperback

Five Star Publications

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Rick Rivera Author- STARS ALWAYS SHINE


by Rick Rivera

Two memorable characters with vastly different backgrounds get to know each other as they work as caretakers on a ranch. Placido Moreno is Mexican American and Salvador Campos is an undocumented immigrant. Together they become aware of their similarities and differences.

208 pp. paper $15.00 ISBN 978-1-931010-03-0

Bilingual Review Press

To order:

Toll free: (866) 965-3867

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Peggy and Randy Ford Authors- FOUND OUR WAY 15th Installment

43. Meanwhile, Peggy’s work was kind of petering off. She reached the point where she didn’t feel like forcing the teachers, and they showed little enthusiasm when she was not pushing them. One Monday when she was scheduled to start a new series of in-service training sessions for third grade teachers, she got an unexpected vacation: for the first time in the history of the Philippines the Manila public school teachers went on strike.

Peggy felt Filipino school teachers were really mistreated. Through some fancy politicking, teacher’s pay was drastically cut so that their basic salary was only P212 a month. (Peace Corps Volunteers got P275 a month plus rent plus medical expenses, and we didn’t have families.) And even this meager amount was often paid late. All and all there were something like eleven grievances, but most centered around salaries.

Since it was illegal for teachers to strike, they declared themselves to be on a mass leave of absence. Initially only 13,000 Manila teachers were absent, but teachers in the province were supposedly also restless. The Secretary of Education cancelled classes in Manila for a week, then proceeded to get a court injunction ordering the teachers to return to work. That was on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the teachers were still absent. Peggy thought that by the end of the week things would be settled enough for classes to open again. But she thought if politicians just made a bunch of promises and then didn’t come through, there would be a lot more vacations. It seemed like teachers in Manila had always been passive, but they weren’t anymore. And Peggy thought that they were going to fight until their demands were met.

44. We took Linda, our maid, with us on our Christmas vacation, and she seemed to enjoy traveling. We saw some beautiful countryside as most of our trip was either along the cost or through the mountains. The best part was the last three days, which we spent in Bontoc, a small mountain town. (The bus ride to Bontoc started in the resort town of Baguio. The bus averaged 20 kilometers an hour … 9 miles an hour!) We spent the last day in Bontoc hiking up a mountain, across rice terraces, and part way down and back. Linda found climbing up hard, and Peggy found coming down the hardest. None of it seemed hard to me.

45. “The Theatre among the Ruins” in Fort Santiago (in which I worked) was in an open space no larger than twenty by eighty feet … a space made more constricted by a T-shaped stage whose arms extended the whole length of the enclosure, and whose leg virtually bisected it. The audience sat in swivel chairs since the action surrounded them, giving each person a strong sense of participation. I first encountered this theatrical concept as a student of Paul Baker. The audience at Baylor Theater, and later at Trinity University …theaters Baker designed … also sat in swivel chairs.

Randy and Peggy Ford

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Sara Jenlink Author- KILLING ANGELS


by Sara Jenlink

Published One-Act Plays

Masters of English

Teacher: College, Secondary Drama & Composition

Storytelling as HomeSpun Voices

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by Virginia Nosky

Such beautiful people, such beautiful lives. But there’s a dark side to Paradise. Three prominent women friends live in this Eden—married to powerful men in a world of privilege: grand houses, lavish parties and charity balls, the latest clothes, jewels, sleek cars. Why do they make the unfortunate choices they do? Bored Christina drifts into an affair with the family lawyer that nearly ends her husband’s political career. Laise closes the door on a marriage she only thought existed. Miriam runs from a husband whose sadism nearly destroys her. Three complicated lives that play out in the end with murder and the terrifying heights of the Grand Canyon.

Champagne Books Available: Kindle, Nook, and All downloadable e-books


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Mattie Lennon Irish Author- The Irish Santa Clause

The Irish Santa Clause

by Mattie Lennon

At this time of year we think of people who made the world a beter place. One such was Thurles man, Seamus Maguire.
Seamus Maguire was born in Thurles in 1950: the only child of James and Eileen Maguire.

He completed his education in 1969 and subsequently worked as a Busdriver, Prisom Officer and Social Worker in Tipperary and Cork.

In 1979, The International Year Of The Child, he founded Youth-In-Need. It was meant to be a one off project to help three young people for six months. Seamus went on to pioneer many projects to help young and old at home and abroad. Over the years he was the recipient of many prestigious awards and commendations.

He headed an organisation, which operated a soup-run in London.

While he and his volunteers were distributing distributing soup, sandwiches and blankets to the Irish homeless Seamus felt that the marginalized exiles needed more.

In December 1979 when Jingle Bells was blaring from loudspeakers in cities around the world and Ireland was coming to terms with the buzz bright about by the cub-Celtic Tiger. Seamus was busy.

The unsung hero from Tipperary was approaching the homeless in the English Capital offering them the chance to ” go home for Christmas”. Because of ******shame or a total rejection of their homeland a minority refused.

Those who availed of his offer were taken to a hostel and given accommodation.

Proper food far a few days and fresh clothes meant that many who had abandoned all hope of a homecoming would be able to met their loved ones looking “fairly respectable”.

Amid all the hardship, Seamus and his crew experienced the odd humorous incident.

A volunteer worker, John Cassidy from County Donegal; told the following story to me;

“In early 1992 we arrived in Hammersmith with a forty- foot lorry loaded with food and blankets for the homeless centres. As we were unloading on a road that was restricted to vehicles under three tons a policeman insisted we move or he would have us arrested and the lorry impounded.

After a few moments of heated discussion Seamus produced a document bearing the seal of both the Irish and British Governments and warned the policeman that it would cause a diplomatic incident if he continued harassing us.

The policeman reached for the document that Seamus was holding hesitated, looked at Seamus and said; “you have four hours to unload and get the truck out of here”.

Thankfully the policeman did not insist on checking the paper that Seamus was holding; it was a customs clearance certificate.”

I penned the following ballad about Seamus Maguire; it was put to music by John Hoban

By Mattie Lennon

The soup-runs of well meaning people
Could not heal the souls or hurt pride
Of the Irish in alien doorways
With no one but God on their side.
Through decades of drink and misfortune
Returning was out the frame;
The streets and the hills of their homeland
Were but specks on an ocean of shame.

Despondency fed by resentment
Ran loose like an unbroken colt,
‘Til a hero, unsung, from Tipp’rary
Gave the conscience of Ireland a jolt.
“We’ll bring some of them home for next Christmas,
Who haven’t seen loves ones for years.
All we need is the will and the courage”
He blasted at pessimist ears.

Dreams dreamt, under cardboard in Camden,
Of a whin-bush, round tower or turf fire
Were realised beyond expectation;
We were brought home by Seamus Maguire.

The captains of business he badgered
While his care-workers beavered away,
Collecting the cash and resources,
And then came the memorable day
When the “rescue coach” left Dublin’s quayside
In December of seventy nine,
Taking fifty glad hearts to the country
With their loved ones once more to entwine.

For the next twenty years every Christmas
Maguire and his team would ensure
That the birth of the Saviour was special
For those He called “Bless’ed”; the poor.
Any many a parent died happy
Resigned to their ultimate fate
With the son or the daughter they cherished
United before ’twas too late.

The date on a gravestone in Thurles
Proclaims ninety-nine as the year
That God gave to Seamus Maguire
The reward for his mission down here.
And his name in more permanent fashion
Is forever inscribed in that tome;
The hearts of our destitute exiles
Who once had no hope of going home.

(c) Mattie Lennon 2004.

Mattie Lennon

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